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Can Warriors catch Lakers' all-time streak?

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 11/25/2015 by Sam Amick, USA TODAY Sports
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OAKLAND – So … now what for these must-watch Golden State Warriors?

Having downed the Los Angeles Lakers 111-77 Tuesday night at Oracle Arena to improve to 16-0 and set a new record for best regular season start in the NBA’s 70-year history, the next-best record in their sights is the 1971-72 Lakers’ 33-game winning streak. That's down the road, so we’ll settle for this bit of more-reasonable musing: might the Warriors head into their Christmas Day Finals rematch with the Cleveland Cavaliers a perfect 28-0?

BOX SCORE:  WARRIORS 111, LAKERS 77

It they remain healthy - and maybe squeeze in a nap or two over the next month - it’s entirely do-able.

In terms of strength of opponents, it’s safe to say the Warriors will be the odds-on favorites at Phoenix, vs. Sacramento, at Utah, at Charlotte, at Toronto, at Brooklyn, at Indiana, at Boston, at Milwaukee, vs. Phoenix, vs. Milwaukee and vs. Utah.

Here’s a deeper look…

• Before considering key factors like the road-home split and the timing of games (back-to-backs; three-games-in-four-nights etc.), consider this: the nine teams the Warriors play in the next 12 games entered Tuesday with a combined record of 78-88. Only four of those teams had winning records – all from the Eastern Conference (Charlotte, Toronto, Indiana, Boston).

• The road is a bear no matter how dominant the team, and the 8-4 road-home split will be challenging. But keep this in mind, the Warriors are no ordinary squad when they’re away from home. Last season, they were a league-best 28-13 on the road, followed by 7-3 in the postseason and 7-0 so far this season.

• The timing might be the toughest part. Golden State, which has a league-high-tying 20 back-to-back sets in all this season, has three of them in this next month (at Phoenix-vs. Sacramento on Friday and Saturday; at Toronto-Brooklyn on Dec. 5-6; at Boston-Milwaukee on Dec. 11-12). What’s more, they have three stretches with three-games in four nights.

• It’s not as if the Warriors’ schedule to this point has been easy. According to ESPN.com, their strength of schedule entering Tuesday was tied with the Houston Rockets for the 18th. And if not for the unexpected struggles of playoff teams like the Rockets (5-9), Clippers (6-7), Grizzlies (7-7) and Pelicans (3-11), that standing would be higher. New Orleans, for those who were wondering, has had the toughest road schedule so far. Dallas (9-5) has had the easiest.

Now should they get through this gauntlet and find themselves still unbeaten by the time the New Year rolls around, the Warriors’ record-tying chance would come on Jan. 2 at home against Denver. The record-breaking game would be two days later against Charlotte at Oracle Arena. If they get to that point, earplugs are highly recommended for anyone on hand. 

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